Habitat restoration projects in Southeast Michigan preserve, restore 150 acres in 2018

Projects on the Detroit River take a break over winter, but more are planned for 2019.

By: Mary Bohling

An aerial photograph overlooks the reconstruction project at Lake Okonoka. The project included 45 acres of aquatic and upland habitat.

Completed in 2018, the Lake Okonoka project includes restoration of 45 acres of aquatic and upland habitat. Photo credit: Friends of the Detroit River

Cold weather is settling over the Great Lakes, including connecting waters such as the Detroit River. As construction companies wrap up their 2018 on-water operations until spring, several habitat restoration projects are put on hold. It has been a busy year for habitat restoration in the Detroit River for Michigan Sea Grant and our partners, such as Friends of the Detroit River. Much was accomplished but there is also much left to do when construction season begins in 2019.

Fish Spawning Reefs

A 4-acre fish spawning reef offshore of Fort Wayne was completed by the University of Michigan Water Center, Michigan Sea Grant, US FWS, USGS and other partners. This 2018 project brings the total number of fish spawning reefs constructed through this Detroit River partnership since 2003 to six for a total of more than 15 acres. 2018 also brought great news regarding the use of the constructed spawning reefs. It was the first time that fertilized eggs from the endangered lake sturgeon were found on all constructed reefs in the Detroit River.

Stony Island

More than 100 acres of coastal and upland habitat were enhanced and protected as a result of this project that was completed in the spring of 2018. The project increases ecological benefits for fish and wildlife including the re-establishment of spawning and nursery habitat for commercial, sport and forage fish species; revitalization of coastal wetlands; and protection of terrestrial resources within the Detroit River watershed. The project included construction of 3,500 linear feet (LF) of continuous rock shoals and 600 LF of shoal islands with nesting habitat for common terns; 92 habitat structures for mudpuppies, turtles and fish including rock piles, basking logs and woody debris bundles; creation of 50 acres of calm backwater for fish spawning and nursery activity; 10 acres of vegetation management including invasive species control; and protection from erosion for 52 acres of island habitat.

Celeron Island

Habitat restoration on and around the island is currently underway. Construction of 4,000 linear feet of rock shoals will be halted as winter sets in but will begin again in the spring of 2019. When completed in 2019, more than 100 acres of coastal wetlands, hibernacula for snakes, turtle nesting beaches, and common tern nesting areas will have been created.

Detroit Upper Riverfront Parks

Approximately 25 acres of wetlands, upland prairies and other habitat types will be constructed in 2019 at A.B. Ford and Lakewood-East Parks. In 2018, contractors hired by the US Environmental Protection Agency completed design plans to create habitat for fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians and pollinators. The city of Detroit also recently announced plans to add new playground equipment and other public amenities to the parks.

Milliken State Park

Through National Fish and Wildlife Funding (NFWF) via the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), the Michigan Department of Natural Resources restored native habitats on nearly an acre of property in 2018 at Milliken State Park located in downtown Detroit and directly across from the Outdoor Adventure Center. The property, previously lawn and filled with invasive species, was restored to a wet meadow and prairie complex including a mass shrub planting along the Detroit River and small trees that will eventually line an existing walkway with shade as they grow.

Lake Okonoka

Completed in 2018, this project includes restoration of 45 acres of aquatic and upland habitat. Lake Okonoka’s enhancements combined with the recent opening of Blue Heron Lagoon (another 41 acres) to the Detroit River will increase the availability of calm spawning and nursery habitat for Great Lakes fish. Deep water pools, basking logs and other habitat features will also benefit turtles, mudpuppies, snakes, mammals and birds. Completion of a new direct connection from Lake Okonoka to the Detroit River is expected to occur in 2019.

Belle Isle Flatwoods

Design plans for 280 acres of wet-mesic flatwoods on Belle Isle were completed in 2018. Permits will be applied for by the Michigan DNR Parks staff who will also secure construction funding. The project is expected to get underway in 2020, pending funding availability.

Hennipen Marsh

The design portion of the project, estimated to be about 40 acres of coastal marsh, is currently underway with field data being gathered. Feasibility and design are expected to be completed mid-2019 with construction happening once permits and funding are secured.

Sugar Island

More than 60 people attended a public meeting on Nov. 14, 2018, to talk about the preliminary results of a feasibility and design project at Sugar Island. The island is owned and managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as part of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. Design plans were completed in 2018 that include the creation of rocky shoals, protection of bluffs and other habitat features. Permits will be sought in 2019 with construction expected to begin late 2019 or early 2020, pending funding.

Find more information about many of these habitat projects can be found on the Friends of the Detroit River Projects webpage.

Beautiful Belle Isle: Detroit’s Unique Urban Park

New Michigan Sea Grant book offers a self-guided tour of 22 Belle Isle locations, their stories and history.

By Mary Bohling

Book cover shows an aerial view of Belle Isle, a state park located in the Detroit River between the US and Canada. The guidebook reveals the unique aspects of how the island has evolved over time, from early English settlement to the connection to New York’s Central Park and today as Michigan’s 102nd State Park.

Book cover shows an aerial view of Belle Isle, a state park located in the Detroit River between the US and Canada. The guidebook reveals the unique aspects of how the island has evolved over time, from early English settlement to the connection to New York’s Central Park and today as Michigan’s 102nd State Park.

Belle Isle Park is a beautiful island park in the Detroit River – and one of my favorite places. The island is owned by the City of Detroit and managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources as a state park. The island also has a lot of history and interesting stories to tell:

  • Did you know that the island was once known as Pig or Hog Island, as early settlers used to bring their hogs out to the island for the summer?
  • Did you know that Belle Isle Aquarium is the oldest public aquarium in North America?
  • Did you know that the Art Deco lighthouse on the island was designed by well-known Detroit architect Albert Kahn and has been lit since it began operating in 1930?

A book is born

For several years I gave tours around the island using information gleaned from a variety of sources. Those tours included colorful stories of rumored Speakeasies and prominent Detroiters, architectural roots of various buildings and habitat restoration projects I have assisted with. I soon realized that I either needed to make giving tours a full-time job or find a different way to share this information! I decided I couldn’t give up my day job as a Michigan State University Extension educator with Michigan Sea Grant — thus came this book, “Beautiful Belle Isle: Detroit’s Unique Urban Park.”

Guidebook features 22 sites

This self-guided tour book features 22 sites of historical, cultural and ecological significance on the island. Readers can learn history and stories about this beautiful 982-acre park located between the United States and Canada. The guidebook reveals the unique aspects of how the island has evolved over time, from early English settlement to the connection to New York’s Central Park and today as Michigan’s 102nd State Park.

Many people contributed photos, content, editing, design and much more to make this guidebook a reality. Printing of the book was funded through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The book will be available to use with bike and kayak rentals at the island and is printed on water resistant paper. It is also available for purchase on the Michigan Sea Grant website for $12. Hopefully by using this guidebook, visitors will come to love the history, stories and the island as much as I do.

2018 Freshwater Summit

Event Date: 10/26/2018

Michigan Sea Grant and its partners invite you to attend the 11th annual Freshwater Summit. The summit is a great place for environmental professionals and engaged citizens to network and to focus on current issues facing the Great Lakes region. 

This year the Freshwater Summit will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 26, 2018, at the Hagerty Center, 715 E. Front Street, Traverse City.

Topics for 2018 will include:

  • Great Lakes lake levels and the impact of their rapid rebound
  • Bringing the science of coastal change and resilience to the local level
  • More accurately measuring the impacts of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative 
  • And additional topics surrounding our freshwater resources

Registration information will be available soon.

The Freshwater Summit is a product of the Freshwater Roundtable and is organized by The Watershed Center, Great Lakes Water Studies Institute, Michigan Sea Grant Extension, Great Lakes Environmental Center, Inland Seas Education Association, NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, and the Grand Traverse Conservation District.

Mark your calendars and save the date!

New video features Michigan’s largest fully aquatic salamander – the mudpuppy

Mudpuppies act as an early warning system for environmental problems but are often misunderstood.

New video features Michigan’s largest fully aquatic salamander - the mudpuppy

Michigan Sea Grant in partnership with Herpetological Resource and ManagementEastern Michigan UniversityUnited States Geological SurveyUnited States Fish and Wildlife ServiceDepartment of Natural Resources Fisheries DivisionBelle Isle Aquarium, and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has produced a new video featuring mudpuppies.

Mudpuppies are Michigan’s largest, fully aquatic salamander. Often referred to as ‘bio-indicators’ because they are sensitive to pollutants and water quality, these salamanders act as an early warning system for environmental problems but are often misunderstood.

Some common myths that the video seeks to dispel are noted below: 

                                    FICTION         VS.            FACT

Mudpuppies are a type of  fish. Mudpuppies are actually an amphibian and although they have lungs and can gulp air they rely on their feathery red external gills for oxygen.
Mudpuppies that are thrown on the ice by anglers will revive in the spring when the ice melts. Unfortunately if a mudpuppy freezes it will die. When thrown on the ice mudpuppies will eventually suffocate or freeze to death.
Mudpuppies eat so many fish eggs that they decrease sport fish populations. Their diet is mostly crayfish, insect larvae, snails and small fish (including invasive round gobies). There is no evidence that they impact fish populations, and they more likely benefit them by helping control non-native species.
Mudpuppies are not protected in Michigan and can be collected all year round. In 2016, the mudpuppy was elevated to a species of special concern and is now protected by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. When you catch them, please put them back.
Mudpuppies compete with game species for food. While mudpuppies do eat some of the same species as game fish, they also play an important role in controlling invasive species such as the round goby and they help keep water clean by feeding on sick or dead animals.
Anglers who hook them should cut the line because they are poisonous. Although slimy, mudpuppies are not poisonous. Anglers should gently remove the hook and return them to the water.

Other interesting facts about mudpuppies

  • Mudpuppies mate in late fall but the females do not lay their eggs until the following spring.
  • Mudpuppies have no scales and their skin is very slimy.
  • Females usually lay 50-100 eggs in cavities or under rocks.
  • Eggs hatch 1-2 months after being laid.
  • Mudpuppies can live for more than 20 years and can take up to 10 years to reach sexual maturity.
  • Mudpuppies are also called waterdogs because of the barking sound they sometimes make.

Video viewers are also encouraged to help conserve mudpuppies and other amphibians and reptiles by reporting sightings in the Michigan Herp Atlas to help better protect and conserve Michigan’s biodiversity! You can also learn more about Mudpuppies and their conservation at the Mudpuppy Conservation page on Facebook.

2018 National Invasive Species Awareness Week

Part 1: Learn more about invasive species and what you can do to help fight this problem in Michigan.

The claws of the invasive red swamp crayfish have bright red spiky bumps. Photo Credit: Mike MurphyPhoto Credit: Mike Murphy

The claws of the invasive red swamp crayfish have bright red spiky bumps. Photo Credit: Mike MurphyPhoto Credit: Mike Murphy

 

National Invasive Species Awareness Week this year is Feb. 26 to March 2, 2018. The goal is to draw attention to invasive species and what individuals can do to stop the spread and introduction of them. To increase awareness of Michigan’s invasive species, Michigan State University Extension and Michigan Sea Grantare publishing a series of articles featuring resources and programs in our state working on invasive species issues. Also, we will update previous information on the red swamp crayfish – a species we had hoped wasn’t in Michigan but was confirmed here in 2017.

What is an invasive species?

Invasive species are a threat to Michigan’s native diversity and are found everywhere in the state. Invasive species can be plants, animals, and other organisms. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources defines invasive species as non-native, rapidly reproducing species which threaten the integrity of natural areas. They can have devastating effects and often out-compete native species for limited resources including food and habitat. Invasive species sometimes alter and damage existing habitat, displace native species, and even prey on native species. Many invasive species are spread from place to place by human activity.

How can I help?

Here are 9 ways to help in the fight against invasive species from the National Invasive Species Awareness Week toolkit:

  1. Learn about invasive species, especially those found in your region. Your county extension office and the National Invasive Species Information Center are both trusted resources.
  2. Clean hiking boots, waders, boats and trailers, off-road vehicles and other gear to stop invasive species from hitching a ride to a new location. Learn more at PlayCleanGo.org
  3. Avoid dumping aquariums or live bait into waterways. Learn more at Habitattitude.org
  4. Don’t move firewood – instead, buy it where you’ll burn it, or gather on site when permitted. Learn more at DontMoveFirewood.org
  5. Use forage, hay, mulch and soil that are certified as “weed free.”
  6. Plant only non-invasive plants in your garden, and remove any known invaders.
  7. Report new or expanded invasive species outbreaks to authorities. Here is a state-by-state list of contacts.
  8. Volunteer to help remove invasive species from public lands and natural areas.
  9. Ask your political representatives at the state, local and national level to support invasive species control efforts.

Learn more

The National Association of Invasive Plant Council is one of the sponsors of the National Invasive Species Awareness Week. The organization will be holding several free webinars this week about invasive species:

  • 3 p.m. today (Feb. 26, 2018): SIIPA Model: Webmap on Early Detection and Rapid Response
    (The Spatial Invasive Infestation and Priority Analysis (SIIPA) model (built in ESRI ArcGIS software) was built to be a customizable tool for rapid application of a prioritization framework to known invasive populations within a preserve, management area, or region.)
  • 3 p.m. Tuesday (Feb. 27, 2018): Legal Issues Surrounding Invasive Species Management
  • 4 p.m. Wed. (Feb. 28): Climate Change and Invasive Species
    (This seminar will review how climate change influences invasive species and how those changes might affect invasive species management.)
  • 3 p.m. (March 1, 2018): The Indiana CISMA Project|
    (The details an agreement that provides funding for a 5-year project aimed at developing a Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA) in each of Indiana’s 92 counties will be discussed.)

Additional resources

Read the entire 2018 National Invasive Species Awareness Week series

Additional Invasive Species Resources

New book about amphibians and reptiles a good read

“Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region, Revised Edition” offers readers a glimpse into the world of herpetofauna

An American Toad is one of the Great Lakes amphibians featured in a newly revised book. Photo: Mary Bohling, Michigan Sea Grant

An American Toad is one of the Great Lakes amphibians featured in a newly revised book. Photo: Mary Bohling, Michigan Sea Grant

Growing up in Michigan, I recall encounters with some special amphibians and reptiles including Spring Peepers in the Les Chenaux Islands, Eastern Fox Snakes along the Lake Erie shoreline, Mudpuppies, and Blanding’s Turtles in the Detroit River and American Toads on Isle Royale. Recently I read a newly revised edition of the book, “Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region,” by James H. Harding and David A. Mifsud, which helped me learn even more about the creatures I’ve seen over the years.

The book includes range maps, photos and other key information for each reptile and amphibian species known to occur naturally within the Great Lakes basin along with limited information for marginal and questionable species. Also included are definitions to help readers understand these often mysterious and misunderstood species.

Are you a herp-watcher?

Readers will learn that herpetology is the scientific study of amphibians and reptiles while herpetofauna is used to describe amphibians and reptiles occurring in a defined geographic area, and that amphibians include frogs, toads, salamanders and caecilians and reptiles include turtles, tortoises crocodilians, lizards, snakes and tuatara.

The concept of “herp-watching” (think bird-watching but substitute animals with feathers for those with scales, slimy skin or shells) is also discussed. This recreational hobby offers an alternative to keeping amphibians and reptiles as pets. Herp-watchers can also play an important role in protection and conservation by documenting observations using web and mobile apps such as the Michigan Herp Atlas.

Management strategies considered

The conservation section for each species explains the animal’s relationship with humans such as economic importance, population trends, threats posed by human activities and possible management strategies. One of the things I found interesting in the habitat and ecology section was the feeding behaviors of some of the species, particularly those that rely on smell and sound to detect prey. I especially liked reading about the Kirtland’s snake because, although its range includes where I live in southeast Michigan, I had never even heard of the species. This little secretive snake lives most of its life below ground in burrows constructed by other animals or under leaf piles, rocks and logs and can flatten itself and become immobile when threatened.

Harding and Mifsud have compiled a wealth of herpetofauna information of use as a reference to non-specialists as well as professional herpetologists. I would recommend this book to anyone with a curiosity about or passion for amphibians and reptiles.

Students team up with Michigan Sea Grant to protect native fish

A threatened fish called the River Redhorse is the latest subject of the Native Fish Heroes poster series.

The River Redhorse suffers from a case of mistaken identity. Even though it is a native fish that requires clean flowing rivers, many people mistake the River Redhorse for invasive carp or other native suckers that can tolerate polluted water. In fact, the River Redhorse is listed as a threatened species in Michigan and is only found in a handful of large, rocky rivers.

Students participating in the Lakeshore Environmental Education Program (LEEP) at Walden Green Montessori School in Ferrysburg had a chance to get to know the River Redhorse this spring. They learned how to identify closely-related species and teamed up with Michigan Sea Grant to teach others why the River Redhorse is so rare.

Guilt by association

The River Redhorse is one of six species of redhorse sucker living in Michigan waters. Some of the other species are very common, and fishing regulations allow for unlimited harvest of other sucker species using a variety of gear including spears, bows and arrows, certain types of nets, and hook-and-line. Suckers are bony but very good to eat when canned or ground. Unfortunately, the River Redhorse is easily mistaken for other species and is sometimes harvested along with other sucker species.

Worse yet, some people mistakenly believe River Redhorse are a harmful or invasive species. They get to be fairly big (over 30 inches long) and could be confused with invasive common carp. Perhaps this is one reason why River Redhorse are sometimes left on the bank to rot.

River Redhorse need clean-swept rocky areas to spawn. Many large rivers suffer from pollution in the form of silt and sand that washes in from eroding banks, city streets, and agricultural land. This “nonpoint source” pollution can smother eggs and also harms native filter-feeding mussels. The River Redhorse feeds heavily on native mussels, and the decline of mussels in many areas of the eastern United States may be one reason for the rarity of River Redhorse.

Big rivers are also subject to development for flood control, navigation, and hydro power.  Channelization removes important shallow-water spawning area and dams restrict the movement of fish. This can block River Redhorse from reaching historic spawning grounds, but some dams also restrict the movement of harmful invasive species.

Even though River Redhorse are not common anywhere, there are three Michigan river systems that still provide good habitat and support breeding populations: the Muskegon River, St. Joseph River, and Grand River.

Students at Walden Green attend school near the mouth of the Grand River, one of the last places in Michigan to find River Redhorse. By highlighting threats and suggesting ways that people can help to keep our rivers clean, the students hope to help protect this local treasure. They even came up with a “Rockin’ River Redhorse” theme poster, which emphasizes the fish’s need for clean, rocky habitat.

The River Redhorse poster is the second in Michigan Sea Grant’s Native Fish Heroes poster series. The Lake Sturgeon was the first poster created, and other teachers around Michigan have expressed interest in tackling Cisco, Smallmouth Bass, and Burbot. If you teach at a K-12 school and have a local connection to one of our fascinating native fish species, contact Michigan Sea Grant for additional details.

Download poster Big rivers, big problems

Alpena students learn while caring for island habitats of local community park

Elementary students tackle critical Great Lakes and natural resource conservation issues, enhance their community, and enjoy a little hands-on learning along the way.

Students review debris they recovered at Rotary Island

DenBleyker and students review debris they picked up at the island.

With the sun shining and just a short walk from school, a class of energetic students recently crossed the bridge over the Thunder Bay River to Rotary Island in Alpena, Mich. These third graders from Lincoln Elementary, Alpena Public Schools were on their way to finalize a series of environmental studies and stewardship projects. This field trip culminated a year-long study inspired by their teacher Tina DenBleyker, who has opened her classroom doors into the community to enhance student learning through hands-on environmental studies.

Applying creative place-based stewardship education (PBSE) strategies, DenBleyker engages students through hands-on community connections and environmental experiences. At the heart of their project was Rotary Island – which students ‘adopted’ and in doing so built a mutually benefiting relationship with their local Alpena Rotary Club. Supported through the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (NEMIGLSI) network, this Lincoln Elementary educator and student team connected with community and conservation partners, including the Alpena Convention and Visitors Bureau, City of Alpena, Huron Pines AmeriCorpsMichigan State University ExtensionMichigan Sea GrantNOAA Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuaryand U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

This project illustrates a great example of how PBSE strategies enhance learning and foster community connections through environmental stewardship studies; resulting in:

  • An engaging educational opportunity. Learning about life cycles is one example of a science learning goal for third grade students in Michigan; and what better way to learn about life cycles than exploring local monarch butterflies and their milkweed habitats. Reading and writing was another significant goal in this project both as students prepared for their projects and also as they reflected and wrote about their science explorations and findings. Students also gained valuable life skills working in teams, communicating with community partners, and leadership in implementing their projects.
  • Watershed studies resulting in environmental stewardship. Students are conducting litter pickups, planting native pollinator gardens, and a variety of other efforts that enhance and beautify this island and public park. For example, the students pick up litter and tally the items found while accomplishing marine debris monitoring and prevention goals promoted by the Alliance for the Great Lakes Adopt-a-Beach program and NOAA Marine Debris program. While picking up the litter, students identified issues with fishing line – addressing this issue by partnering with Michigan Sea Grant to build and install monofilament recycling bins on the Island. Finally, their monarch lifecycle studies led to learning about pollinators and an eventual partnership with USFWS to plan and plant a native pollinator garden on the island.
  • Valued community connections and contributions. Throughout the year students met and expanded their relationship with the local Alpena Rotary Club who own and manage the island. Mary Dunckel (also an MSU Extension Educator in Alpena County) provides leadership for Rotary Club, which welcomed and supports this school partnership on the island. Students learned more about the island and ways they could help when interviewing Rotarian Patrick Heraghty (Director of Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan). This partnership benefits school improvement goals and provides a community enhancement opportunity.
Alpena Elementary School students show off their completed monofilament recycling station – one of two installed on Rotary Island. Photo: Tina DenBleyker.

Alpena Elementary School students show off their completed monofilament recycling station – one of two installed on Rotary Island. Photo: Tina DenBleyker.

DenBleyker’s vision and planning for this stewardship project started last summer during the Lake Huron PBSE Summer Teacher Institute, a training sponsored by the NEMGLSI network and Sea Grant Center for Great Lakes Literacy. Here she learned about place-based stewardship education strategies; connected and traded ideas with other teachers, Great Lakes scientists and a variety of community partners; and gained resources in support of her work. DenBleyker jumped straight into PBSE programming with her students last fall with visits to the island – leveraging new partners and opportunities, navigating challenges, and celebrating successes. She shared her reflections as a new teacher getting started in PBSE during the 2017 NEMIGLSI Regional Networking Meeting. This summer she will share her experiences with new teachers as a lead teacher mentor during the very same Lake Huron PBSE Summer Teacher Institute. This year’s Institute is scheduled for August 14-18, 2017, in Alpena, and teachers interested can learn more and submit applications online. Applications are due July 27.

Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State University Extension serve in providing leadership for the NEMIGLSI network, which is part of a larger, statewide network and partnership, the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (GLSI). Established in 2007 with funding from the Great Lakes Fishery Trust, the GLSI supports place-based stewardship education in schools and communities across Michigan. Partnerships are invaluable in our endeavor to support stewardship of our Great Lakes and natural resources. Through the NEMIGLSI network, and applied place-based education strategies, our educator partners are addressing critical Great Lakes issues.

Detroit River Restoration Tour

Event Date: 8/17/2017

The Detroit River has seen its fair share of environmental challenges. Now, after years of dedicated restoration work, the Detroit River and its ecosystems are heading toward recovery.

On August 17, 2017, join the Friends of the Detroit River, Michigan Sea Grant, and our many partners as we celebrate the hard work and dedication of those who have helped shape a new future for the Detroit River. This is your opportunity to visit the habitat restoration sites of Grosse Ile and Belle Isle for an up close, behind the scenes, expert-guided tour.

Highlights of the event include:
 
10 am – Noon, Grosse Ile
  • Boat tour of Stony Island restoration site
  • Coffee and donuts provided
1:30 – 4:30, Belle Isle
  • Lunch and short program in Dossin Museum
  • Meet a live sturgeon
  • Bus tour of Belle Isle restoration sites including Lake Okonoka and Blue Heron Lagoon.

Download the full agenda (PDF)

More information about restoration sites:

Space is limited. Reserve your spot today!

Registration: ow.ly/DiBq30cQDBf

Contact: Mary Bohling, (313) 410-9431, bohling@msu.edu

Sustainable Small Harbors Webinar

Event Date: 5/8/2017

Michigan Sea Grant to host webinar about Sustainable Small Harbors project findings and next steps

On May 8 at 2–3:30 p.m. EDT, Michigan Sea Grant will host a webinar titled, “The Sustainable Small Harbors Project: Helping coastal communities re-imagine their waterfront.”

This webinar will provide an overview of the Sustainable Small Harbors project, an initiative to boost the long-term well-being of Michigan’s coastal communities. All people involved in coastal communities, both in and outside of Michigan, are invited to participate.

The Sustainable Small Harbors project arose in 2014 when many of Michigan’s small coastal communities were struggling to cope with fluctuating water levels, declining populations, and economic instability. The project research team (consisting of Lawrence Technological University, Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc., Veritas Economic Consulting, LLC, and David Larkin Knight, LLC) has assessed barriers preventing small harbor communities from becoming socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable.

Members of the project research team along with personnel from Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State University Extension facilitated in-depth visioning workshops in six coastal communities to help community members identify potential growth areas for their waterfronts. By May 2017, the team will publish a guidebook to help other coastal communities analyze their own waterfront assets and develop strategies to bolster their long-term economic, social, and environmental stability.

“This effort empowers communities to overcome the burdens of their historic legacies,” says Jon Allan, director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Office of the Great Lakes. “The process engaged community members in constructive conversations to create a shared vision.”

The 90-minute webinar will provide an overview of the project’s history, major findings and outcomes, and future directions. Representatives from the cities of New Baltimore and Ontonagon will speak about their experiences with the project. The webinar will conclude with an open question-and-answer session.

Registration is required to participate in this webinar, scheduled for May 8, 2017, at 2–3:30 p.m. EDT. Please register at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8474664373942398467

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with details about joining the webinar. Learn more about the project at: www.sustainablesmallharbors.org

Contact: Rhett Register, Michigan Sea Grant; (734) 647-0767, rregist@umich.edu